The standard approach of the various authors of books on Japanese gardens is to describe the historical development of gardens in Japan, then to illustrate the different styles and elements of traditional Japanese gardens. In more recent times, some authors have also featured designs of a few Japanese style gardens outside of Japan.
This publication by the Japanese Garden Society is different; it contains no references to historical gardens but instead demonstrates by example how the elusive principles of the Japanese tradition can be employed in a western setting. It is simply a selection of designs by Maureen Busby, an acclaimed designer of Japanese style gardens, which were created for her clients, covering a broad range of locations and styles.
With a preface by Sir Hugh Cortazzi, Honorary President of the Japanese Garden Society and a forward by Graham Hardman, Chairman of the Society, the book is conveniently divided into six chapters, covering different types of garden. Each garden design featured is approached in the same way. First the ‘Client Brief’ details the client’s wishes. Then the ‘Site Appraisal’ describes the shape, levels and contents of the site and finally, there follows the key part of the design presentation - Maureen’s ‘Interpretation of the Brief’ which describes in a clear and concise way how the design will satisfy the client’s wishes.
In most cases, photographs of the existing site and the completed garden are shown, together with Maureen’s concept plans and drawings. These latter are painted sketches of how the garden will look from the viewing areas previously identified. The sketches are truly works of art in themselves and help to create an overall style which is both informative and unique, giving truth to the saying that a picture is worth a thousand words. Conveniently a plant list accompanies the design details.
Reading how each garden was dealt with and presented makes one realise that Maureen was not just a gifted designer but also she had discovered how to introduce that elusive ‘breeze of feeling’, mentioned in old Japanese writings, into her work. ‘The Japanese Way’ should not be seen as a memorial to Maureen – rather it represents a legacy of her work which it is felt sure will become an important reference book for all those wishing to improve their knowledge, understanding and appreciation of Japanese style gardens.
Please click here to return to the Publications page.